COUNCIL FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE WRITING INC

aka CASW   |   Seattle, WA   |  www.casw.org

Mission

The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing is committed to improving the quality and quantity of science news reaching the public. Directed and advised by distinguished journalists and scientists, CASW develops and funds programs that encourage accurate and informative writing about developments in science, technology, medicine and the environment.

Ruling year info

1961

President

Robin Lloyd

Main address

P.O. Box 17337

Seattle, WA 98127 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-1953314

NTEE code info

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (W12)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The wide and accurate dissemination of news about science, medicine and technology is essential to a complex modern society. CASW works to connect everyone with high-quality incisive reporting on science and to promote and inform public conversation about issues at the interface between science and society. Our educational programs and awards help raise the quality of science writing in a time when misinformation and manipulation are rampant.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

New Horizons in Science

New Horizons in Science, launched in 1963, is an annual program of educational briefings about emerging science to provide science writers with a broader understanding of scientific research and issues and fresh ideas for stories.

Population(s) Served
Adults

CASW's Taylor/Blakeslee Fellowship Program is the only national scholarship program supporting graduate study in science writing. At least four fellowships are awarded competitively each year.

Population(s) Served
Students

The Victor Cohn Prize, given annually, seeks to honor a writer for a body of work published or broadcast within the last five years which, for reasons of uncommon clarity, accuracy, breadth of coverage, enterprise, originality, insight and narrative power, has made a profound and lasting contribution to public awareness and understanding of critical advances in medical science and their impact on human health and well-being. The Prize was established in 2000.

Population(s) Served
Adults

A website dedicated to sharing and critiquing award-winning science stories to celebrate excellence and to inspire and inform science journalism students and other aspiring science writers.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The award is intended to encourage young science writers by recognizing outstanding reporting and writing in any field of science.

Population(s) Served
Young adults
Adults

Given annually, the Sharon Begley Science Reporting Award recognizes and supports reporting and writing that embodies the high standards embodied by Sharon Begley (1956–2021), a science journalist of unflinching dedication, skill, moral clarity, and commitment to mentoring. The Sharon Begley Award comprises a career prize, recognizing the accomplishments of a mid-career science journalist, and a grant of at least $20,000 to enable the winner to undertake a significant reporting project. The first award is to be given in 2022.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The core mission of CASW remains unchanged since its founding: to enhance the quantity and quality of science news reaching the public.

CASW's core program activities advance this mission by:
● educating science writers;
● encouraging talented individuals to pursue careers in science writing;
● promoting good science communication; and
● supporting and recognizing independent journalism.

In 2019, the CASW board began work on an initiative to improve the quality and sustainability of science journalism at a time when the field is facing major challenges. The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic illustrated the difficulty of combating misinformation in a polarized society and served as a dramatic reminder of the importance of science journalism in the 21st century.

During strategic planning discussions in 2014, the CASW board noted trends and challenges that must be addressed to achieve our goals in the current environment.

Key trends include:
● the collapse of the traditional publishing economy;
● changes in science;
● reductions in government funding for science;
● dilution in the quality of science news reaching the public;
● personal branding, self-marketing and business entrepreneurship as major aspects of the writer's life;
● experimentation with new models;
● globalization of science, news, culture and the economy;
● loss of the journalist's filtering role; and
● rise of online multimedia.

In response to these trends and challenges, the strategic plan commits CASW to emphasizing five themes:
● education of science writers and communicators;
● mentoring and support of student and early-career science writers;
● resources for science communication;
● enhancing diversity in science writing; and
● partnerships.

The new Science Journalism Initiative conceived in 2019 is designed to create partnerships to launch a new suite of programs to:
● build the skill, ethical caliber, and diversity of science journalists;
● address the economic sustainability of the field;
● propagate techniques for rigorous science reporting to all journalists whose beats involve working with scientific information; and
● find new tools and alliances for confronting public skepticism, building trust and respect for journalism, and reaching underserved audiences.

As an independent 501(c)(3) organization rather than a professional association,
CASW has the flexibility to work with donors and partners to pursue ideals rather
than serve member interests.

CASW has several reputational assets:
● New Horizons in Science is recognized as a program of high educational value for
science writers.
● CASW has a highly prestigious Board.
● CASW has a good financial track record built through conservative budgeting and prudent management of early gifts.
● CASW has good relationships with a small but committed group of long-time funding partners.
● Though CASW's staff is very small, it is competent and stable.
● CASW has excellent fellowship and awards programs for encouraging excellence in science writing and relationships with many practitioners in the field through these programs.

The National Science Board honored CASW with a 2003 Public Service Award "for its achievement in bringing together scientists and science writers for the purpose of improving the quality of science news reaching the public." Each year's New Horizons in Science program is the signature accomplishment of the Council.

A 2016 program evaluation documented an impressive impact for the continuing graduate fellowships program, which is now enhanced by an enterprise grant competition for recent graduates. And CASW has launched a website, CASW Showcase, to curate and critique award-winning science writing. A demonstration of CASW's growing capacity was a partnership to produce the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists in San Francisco in 2017. CASW's conference work has been done in partnership with the National Association of Science Writers. In 2020, CASW forged a partnership with the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism and the Society of Environmental Journalists to create a new fellowship program designed to break down barriers to entry into specialized journalism by providing early-career training, networking and mentoring in science, health, and environmental journalism while allowing reporters to stay on the job.

CASW is a well-managed nonprofit with a good reputation, sound financial track record, strong and engaged board, and important mission. Strong annual giving, program support, and long-term underwriting for awards and fellowships will ensure that CASW continues to advance its mission. The Council's new Science Journalism Initiative will build new partnerships and programs to boost CASW's impact and reach for our second 60 years.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Science writers, science journalists, scientists, their institutions, and students exploring the field.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Suggestion box/email, Consultation with the board of the National Association of Science Writers for member feedback,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    A new kind of conference session was added to enhance participation and tie our conference more closely together.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    No change in particular. CASW operates largely within a vocal community that provides ample direct feedback.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

COUNCIL FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE WRITING INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

COUNCIL FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE WRITING INC

Board of directors
as of 1/19/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Robin Lloyd

Freelance Journalist

Term: 2021 - 2022

Christie Aschwanden

Freelance Journalist

Deborah Blum

Knight Science Journalism at MIT

William Kearney

National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering

Maggie Koerth

FiveThirtyEight

Celeste LeCompte

ProPublica

Thomas Lin

Quanta Magazine

Tariq Malik

Space.com

Debbie Ponchner

ULACIT

Cristine Russell

Harvard Kennedy School

Ashley Smart

Knight Science Journalism at MIT

Kenneth Trevett

Retired

Dan Vergano

BuzzFeed News

Alan Boyle

GeekWire

Robin Lloyd

Freelance Journalist

Richard Harris

National Public Radio

Betsy Mason

Freelance Journalist

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/19/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/05/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.